The lesbian sister of right-wing Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has talked openly in a newspaper interview about coming out, leaving her ex-husband and finding love with a woman in middle age.
Christine Forster – who is also a Liberal politician – was interviewed along with her partner Virginia Edwards for the Sydney Morning Herald’s regular Two of US feature.
Forster and Edwards both recount how they met when their sons were at the same pre-school and became close friends before slowly developing romantic feelings for each other.
Forster said she ‘wrestled’ with whether to ‘deny what I knew about myself’ and telling her ex-husband, father of her four children, was the hardest thing she’s ever done.
She says her parents were shocked to hear she was leaving her marriage for a woman and her brother Tony – who is against legalizing gay marriage – and his wife were the first people in her family she told.
‘His reaction was very much "essentially, Chris, life throws up a lot of unexpected situations and I know that you will be trying to do your best",’ said Forster.
Last month Forster and Edwards publicly announced their engagement as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) became the first parliament in Australia to pass legislation allowing gay couples to marry.
They hope to marry when same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country, but Forster admits they could have a ‘long engagement’ because her brother is against allowing gay people to marry.